Friday News Bites: Colorado NAACP Bombing, Obituaries + More

News Bites are back after a holiday hiatus, and in our time away, it seems so many people have died. Still, we have a few good things happening too. Let’s get started:

On Wednesday, there was no avoiding the news coming out of Paris, where gunmen killed 12 people at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Here’s The Guardian‘s ongoing coverage, while police continue their search for the attackers.

In Colorado Springs, an “improvised explosive device” went off near the city’s NAACP office. Though no one was injured, the FBI is investigating the motive behind the bombing.


Musician Joe Cocker died on December 22, after a battle with lung disease. He was 70 years old.

Christine Cavanaugh, voice actress for many of the cartoons you loved in the ’90s, also died on December 22nd, age 51.

Also in December, TV producer and director Denis Firkin died at age 98. Firkin’s career included producing Upstairs, Downstairs and Emergency – Ward 10.

Actor David Ryall, perhaps best known for his role as Elphias Doge in the Harry Potter series, died on December 25. He was 79.

Widely known as “Rory’s grandfather” on Gilmore Girls, actor Edward Herrmann died from brain cancer on December 31. He was 71.

Also passing away after a battle with cancer, we lost ESPN anchor Stuart Scott at age 49, January 4.

Cancer just sucks, okay? Donna Douglas, who played Elly Mae Clampett died from pancreatic cancer on January 1.

Classic Doctor Who actor Bernard Kay died in December, age 86. His roles include twelfth-century military leader Saladin, in the First Doctor adventure “The Crusade” (also starring Julian Glover and Jean Marsh).

After collapsing during rehearsals for his theatre role in Dante’s Inferno, actor Khan Bonfils died suddenly at age 42. The cause of death has not yet been determined. Bonfils is best known for his roles in Skyfall and Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace.

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo died on December 25, age 82. The cause was heart failure.

Debbie Purdy, a right-to-die activist from Bradford, England, died at age 52 while in hospice care. Purdy had suffered from multiple sclerosis for almost 20 years.

Edward W. Brooke, the first African-American to be elected to Congress, died at age 95. Brooke served in the U.S. Senate for the state of Massachusetts from 1966 until 1978.

In Other News:

Speaking of the United States Congress, there have not been too many African-American Senators since Edward R. Brooke’s election. And right now, Congress is 80% white, 80% male, and 92% Christian. And yet… This makes it once of the most “diverse” sessions ever. Sigh.

Here’s Florida not being… erm… unusual for once: Same-sex marriage is now legal there! Hooray!

The Justice Department will now recognize transgender discrimination as part of the sex discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Progress!

Speaking of transgender issues and government, India has its first transgender mayor: “Madhu Kinnar defeated her opposition by 4357 votes on 4 January, beating the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Mahaveer Guruji to become mayor of Raigarh.”

In Pittsburgh, Police Chief Cameron McLay was photographed holding one of the banners from activist group Fight Back Pittsburgh, a poster that stated, “I resolve to challenge racism @ work #EndWhiteSilence.” Somewhat sadly/predictably, the police union there didn’t like this.

Ferguson Updates:

Forgive my sarcasm, but ORLY?! — “St. Louis county prosecutor Robert McCulloch says he believes some witnesses were not telling the truth when presenting evidence in the grand jury case of officer Darren Wilson.”

One of the grand jurors, who still remains anonymous, is suing Robert McCulloch in order to lift the lifetime gag order involving the Darren Wilson case. ACLU Missouri is representing the juror.

Lest we think Ferguson is an isolated incident (we don’t really think that now, do we?): In Berkeley, which is also in St. Louis County, an officer shot and killed 18-year-old Antonio Martin on Dec 24. Martin allegedly had a gun and pointed it at officers outside a Mobil station, but (coughconvienientlycough) they were not wearing their cameras.

I don’t know as much about this case, I admit, but on the surface, it feels troublesome.

In Lighter News:

In the Mariana Trench, located in the Pacific Ocean, scientists have found the “World’s Deepest Fish.” The snailfish was discovered at a depth of 26,722 feet, beating the previous record by 500 feet. [Warning: Auto-loading video]

Along with Dame Joan Collins and others, it’s now Sir John Hurt to you.

Make your brother die of dysentery once more! Oregon Trail and around 2400 other MS-DOS games are now available online.

Here’s what happens with Lady Edith, Mrs. Patmore, and Mrs. Hughes play Cards Against Humanity. Spoiler: It’s delightful.

And finally… Panda Snow Day!

See you next time, friends.

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Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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